Friday, May 27, 2016

Signs the Economy is Bad: May 27, 2016 edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs the Economy is Bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I have time and/or feel like doing it) feature where I scour the Internet in search of the oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Sure, pundits may say things are getting better, but what do they know? And to show not all is bad, once in a while we look at how good the uber rich have it.  

We made it to Memorial Day weekend. For many in the U.S., this holiday meant to remember the dead soldiers and service people in wars, is just the time for a three-day weekend (four if you took off yesterday), barbecues and parties, and the marker of the beginning of the summer season. For Hollywood, Memorial Day also marks the start of the summer blockbuster season when they put out all their macho blow shit up stuff out and all the stuff for the kids in hopes of making money. So the last thing people will do is think about the bad economy, but it does not mean that the bad economy vanishes. Oh nay nay nay. The signs are still out there, and given this is also an election season, paying attention to things like this might be important. Just a suggestion. I would not want folks to choke on a hot dog or anything.

  • Public schools in the United States continue to literally fall apart. Story via AlterNet. When people wonder why the American educational system is so bad, maybe they need to consider that you get what you pay for. After all, Americans are notorious for whining about paying their taxes to support public services, including education. 
  • Then again, the U.S. is the nation where the poor keep getting poorer, and the rest make it a hobby to screw them even more. For instance, a new study reveals that the poor pay more for everyday purchases. Story via The Rural Blog. If you want to learn more, there is a new book out, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, that goes into why the poor keep becoming poorer in the U.S. The book is discussed at  The New York Review of Books. And if you cannot buy the book to read it, don't worry, I have you covered there. You can use WorldCat as I do to find a library near me so I can borrow it. Because in the bad economy, thank goodness we still have public libraries. 
  • Also, in rural areas, there is a serious lack of doctors and insurers, and hospitals keep closing down. Story via The Rural Blog
  • Meanwhile, more Millennials are going back to living at home with mommy and daddy. Story via The Christian Science Monitor. So odds are good that if you are older and your kids went to college but are unemployed or underemployed, that your nest is not empty yet as you had hoped. The source tries to spin some of it as the kids are just not getting married as soon as they used to, but in the end, it's the economics. Living on your own can get expensive if you do not have a job after college that pays the bills or just any job. So, you are likely celebrating Memorial Day with your kids who meandered on back after college. 
  • As a nation, the U.S. may be missing a step or two. If you think cattle ranchers raising tons of cattle to feed the nation and export is the picture, try again. Turns out the U.S. now imports more beef than it exports. Story via The Rural Blog
  • But at least not everybody is doing lousy in the bad economy. One key sector of American industry is very much alive and well. It turns out the Obama years have been very good to U.S. weapons makers. This has been going on since before Obama, but his presidency years have just been a very good time for that business. Story via Mother Jones

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